LEVELLAND — Leading the Texans to a Region V title and a berth in the NJCAA Men's Final Four, South Plains sophomore forward Gaige Prim was recognized as one of the nation's best Monday, earning First Team All-American honors after a stellar year on the hardwood.
Prim, who will continue his career at Missouri State next season, was undoubtedly the top interior post player in the country this season, recording 23 double-doubles while averaging 20.7 points per game. During the Texans' postseason run, Prim helped South Plains receive an automatic berth to the men's national tournament with a 27 point, 14 rebound performance in a 73-71 victory over Odessa College in the Region V title game in Abilene.
Prim would then lead the Texans to a pair of victories over No. 15 Trinity Valley and No. 10 Eastern Florida State at the NJCAA Men's Basketball National Tournament and went off for 29 points and 15 boards in the Texans' Final Four matchup with No. 3 Vincennes. Prim earned All-Tournament honors after averaging 22.3 points and 11.3 rebounds in Kansas, ending the year with a double-double in four of his last five games.
Shooting a 64.8 percent clip from the field on the year, Prim averaged 11.5 rebounds per game and shot over 72 percent from the free throw line. Prim ranked second in the NJCAA with 392 total rebounds, and third nationally in both offensive rebounds (145), and defensive boards (247). Prim's 11.5 rebounds per game ranked fourth nationally, and also ranked seventh in the country with 261 total field goals.
Playing in arguably the toughest conference in the country, Prim had his way with opposing defenses in the Western Junior College Athletic Conference, leading the league with 115 total field goals, and ranked second in field goal percentage with a 63.9 mark from the field. Prim led the WJCAC with 155 rebounds and was first in the league with 63 offensive boards.
Prim, who was named the Region V Player of the Year as well as the Most Valuable Player in the WJCAC on March 12, scored at least 20 points 19 times this season, most notably, a 31 point, 11 rebound performance against Seward College in the Texans 79-76 victory of the Saints on Nov. 9.